German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has stuck by his controversial proposals to stop Syrian families reuniting in Germany. Chancellery Chief Peter Altmaier has insisted that everything will remain as at present.
Speaking to the news website n-tv.de, de Maiziere said that in the future, Syrian refugees should only be provided with "subsidiary" protection. Under the interior minster's proposal, the refugees' time in Germany would be limited and family reunifications prohibited.
De Maiziere added that every case should be examined individually to find which protection status is most appropriate, rather than applying the same method across the board.
At the moment, Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) grants Syrian refugees a status in accordance with the Geneva Convention. The agreement states that the marital partner and children can be reunited with the refugee at a later date.
Chancellery not informed
De Maiziere told Deutschlandfunk earlier this week that Syrians would be granted a "subsidiary" protection. Shortly after, however, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the protection status of all Syrians would remain the same at present.
According to a report in the German newspaper "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung" (FAS), de Maiziere had not informed the chancellery about the instruction of the Interior Ministry.
"Only the Interior Ministry itself and BAMF knew that the processing procedures had been reformed," Chancellery Chief and Refugee Coordinator Peter Altmaier told Deutschlandfunk.
FAS reported that Altmaier was in fact informed by Vice Chancellor and leader of Germany's Social Democrats Sigmar Gabriel, who later intervened.
The chancellery chief said De Maiziere responded quickly to the protests by the SPD, however, making it clear that there would be no unilateral changes.
ksb/rc (kna, epd, dpa)